Transmembrane protein 30A (TMEM30A) maintains the asymmetric distribution of phosphatidylserine, an integral component of the cell membrane and ‘eat-me’ signal recognized by macrophages. Integrative genomic and transcriptomic analysis of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) from the British Columbia population-based registry uncovered recurrent biallelic TMEM30A loss-of-function mutations, which were associated with a favorable outcome and uniquely observed in DLBCL. Using TMEM30A-knockout systems, increased accumulation of chemotherapy drugs was observed in TMEM30A-knockout cell lines and TMEM30A-mutated primary cells, explaining the improved treatment outcome. Furthermore, we found increased tumor-associated macrophages and an enhanced effect of anti-CD47 blockade limiting tumor growth in TMEM30A-knockout models. By contrast, we show that TMEM30A loss-of-function increases B-cell signaling following antigen stimulation—a mechanism conferring selective advantage during B-cell lymphoma development. Our data highlight a multifaceted role for TMEM30A in B-cell lymphomagenesis, and characterize intrinsic and extrinsic vulnerabilities of cancer cells that can be therapeutically exploited.
Introduction: Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) and regions (IDRs) lack stable three-dimensional structure making drug discovery challenging. A validated therapeutic target for diseases such as prostate cancer is the androgen receptor (AR) which has a disordered amino-terminal domain (NTD) that contains all of its transcriptional activity. Drug discovery against the AR-NTD is of intense interest as a potential treatment for disease such as advanced prostate cancer that is driven by truncated constitutively active splice variants of AR that lack the C-terminal ligand-binding domain (LBD).
Areas covered: This article presents an overview of the relevance of AR and its intrinsically disordered NTD as a drug target. AR structure and approaches to blocking AR transcriptional activity are discussed. The discovery of small molecules, including the libraries used, proven binders to the AR-NTD, and site of interaction of these small molecules in the AR-NTD are presented along with discussion of the Phase I clinical trial.
Expert opinion: The lack of drugs in the clinic that directly bind IDPs/IDRs reflects the difficulty of targeting these proteins and obtaining specificity. However, it may also point to an inappropriateness of too closely borrowing concepts and resources from drug discovery to folded proteins.
Background: Lipid traits have been inconsistently linked to risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). We examined the association of genetically predicted lipid traits with risk of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), follicular lymphoma (FL), and marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) using Mendelian randomization (MR) analysis.
Methods: Genome-wide association study data from the InterLymph Consortium were available for 2,661 DLBCLs, 2,179 CLLs, 2,142 FLs, 824 MZLs, and 6,221 controls. SNPs associated (P < 5 × 10−8) with high-density lipoprotein (HDL, n = 164), low-density lipoprotein (LDL, n = 137), total cholesterol (TC, n = 161), and triglycerides (TG, n = 123) were used as instrumental variables (IV), explaining 14.6%, 27.7%, 16.8%, and 12.8% of phenotypic variation, respectively. Associations between each lipid trait and NHL subtype were calculated using the MR inverse variance–weighted method, estimating odds ratios (OR) per standard deviation and 95% confidence intervals (CI).
Results: HDL was positively associated with DLBCL (OR = 1.14; 95% CI, 1.00–1.30) and MZL (OR = 1.09; 95% CI, 1.01–1.18), while TG was inversely associated with MZL risk (OR = 0.90; 95% CI, 0.83–0.99), all at nominal significance (P < 0.05). A positive trend was observed for HDL with FL risk (OR = 1.08; 95% CI, 0.99–1.19; P = 0.087). No associations were noteworthy after adjusting for multiple testing.
Conclusions: We did not find evidence of a clear or strong association of these lipid traits with the most common NHL subtypes. While these IVs have been previously linked to other cancers, our findings do not support any causal associations with these NHL subtypes.
Impact: Our results suggest that prior reported inverse associations of lipid traits are not likely to be causal and could represent reverse causality or confounding.
Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is an uncommon B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) that is incurable with standard therapies. The genetic drivers of this cancer have not been firmly established and the features that contribute to differences in clinical course remain limited. To extend our understanding of the biological pathways involved in this malignancy, we performed a large-scale genomic analysis of MCL using data from 51 exomes and 34 genomes alongside previously published exome cohorts. To confirm our findings, we re-sequenced the genes identified in the exome cohort in 191 MCL tumors, each having clinical follow-up data. We confirmed the prognostic association of TP53 and NOTCH1 mutations. Our sequencing revealed novel recurrent non-coding mutations surrounding a single exon of the HNRNPH1 gene. In RNA-seq data from 103 of these cases, MCL tumors with these mutations had a distinct imbalance of HNRNPH1 isoforms. This altered splicing of HNRNPH1 was associated with inferior outcomes in MCL and showed a significant increase in protein expression by immunohistochemistry. We describe a functional role for these recurrent non-coding mutations in disrupting an auto-regulatory feedback mechanism, thereby deregulating HNRNPH1 protein expression. Taken together, these data strongly implicate a role for aberrant regulation of mRNA processing in MCL pathobiology.
Mycoplasma species (spp.) bacteria can infect cell cultures, posing a potential threat to recipients of cell therapy products. Conventional Mycoplasma testing methods are highly sensitive but typically require a minimum of 28 days to produce results. This delay is problematic if rapid results are needed to inform treatment decisions. Nucleic acid amplification technique (NAT) methods have been gaining favor for Mycoplasma testing due to their speed and specificity; however, they must first be qualified as meeting or exceeding the sensitivity of the compendial method. We present herein a NAT method for the detection of Mycoplasma that circumvents the need for live Mycoplasma spp. in the test procedure by instead being qualified using Mycoplasma spp. genomic DNA. We have demonstrated a lower limit of detection that exceeds the regulatory requirements set by Health Canada. This assay is now being used to screen clinical cell therapy products manufactured at our center.
Read our News Story Here.
In the previous column we showed how hidden states driving observable changes in a cell can be modeled as a hidden Markov model (HMM). To confidently use the HMM for inference or prediction, we must first train it to accurately represent observed data.
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is one of the most common cancers worldwide and represents a heterogeneous group of tumours, the majority of which are treated with a combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Fluoropyrimidine (5-FU) and its oral pro-drug, capecitabine, are commonly prescribed treatments for several solid tumour types including HNSCC. 5-FU-associated toxicity is observed in approximately 30% of treated patients and is largely caused by germline polymorphisms in DPYD which encodes dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD), a key enzyme of 5-FU catabolism and deactivation. Although the association of germline DPYD alterations with toxicity is well-described, the potential contribution of somatic DPYD alterations to 5-FU sensitivity has not been explored. In a patient with metastatic HNSCC, in-depth genomic and transcriptomic integrative analysis on a biopsy from a metastatic neck lesion revealed alterations in genes that are associated with 5-FU uptake and metabolism. These included a novel somatic structural variant resulting in a partial deletion affecting DPYD, a variant of unknown significance affecting SLC29A1 and homozygous deletion of MTAP. There was no evidence of deleterious germline polymorphisms that have been associated with 5-FU toxicity, indicating a potential vulnerability of the tumour to 5-FU therapy. The discovery of the novel DPYD variant led to the initiation of 5-FU treatment that resulted in a rapid response lasting 17 weeks, with subsequent relapse due to unknown resistance mechanisms. This suggests that somatic alterations present in this tumour may serve as markers for tumour sensitivity to 5-FU, aiding in selection of personalized treatment strategies.
Read our News Story here.
Introduction Given the high level of uncertainty surrounding the outcomes of early phase clinical trials, whole genome and transcriptome analysis (WGTA) can be used to optimize patient selection and study assignment. In this retrospective analysis, we reviewed the impact of this approach on one such program. Methods Patients with advanced malignancies underwent fresh tumor biopsies as part of our personalized medicine program (NCT02155621). Tumour molecular data were reviewed for potentially clinically actionable findings and patients were referred to the developmental therapeutics program. Outcomes were reviewed in all patients, including those where trial selection was driven by molecular data (matched) and those where there was no clear molecular rationale (unmatched). Results From January 2014 to January 2018, 28 patients underwent WGTA and enrolled in clinical trials, including 2 patients enrolled in two trials. Fifteen patients were matched to a treatment based on a molecular target. Five patients were matched to a trial based upon single-gene DNA changes, all supported by RNA data. Ten cases were matched on the basis of genome-wide data (n = 4) or RNA gene expression only (n = 6). With a median follow-up of 6.7 months, the median time on treatment was 8.2 weeks. Discussion When compared to single-gene DNA-based data alone, WGTA led to a 3-fold increase in treatment matching. In a setting where there is a high level of uncertainty around both the investigational agents and the biomarkers, more data are needed to fully evaluate the impact of routine use of WGTA.